From Being Bed and House-Bound to Going on 3-Hour Walks
Danielle joined CFS School in January 2022 and is now one of our Program Mentors. She generously shared her story with us.
Here's how she describes her journey to being healed...
From as far back as I can remember I have struggled with anxiety. I often felt lost, being unclear about who I was and finding my place in the world. These feelings and thoughts intensified as I got older. As a result, my anxiety, depression and dissociation grew throughout my teens.
In my 20s, I was an event manager in London, running events at large venues of 10,500 people. I loved it and felt like I was doing what I was meant to do.
But I was working long hours - 18-hour shifts back to back - and I put all my energy into my work, completely disregarding the rest of my life. I didn’t think about myself at all. Now I look back, I was using my job to avoid all the traumas and emotions that I had experienced growing up.
But in 2017, there was a bombing at one of the Manchester arenas. And I knew the managers that worked there. It set off loads of intense anxiety, from then on I never felt safe at work, and that started to sink into my body that I was never safe.
From that point, I started experiencing chronic fatigue symptoms and was having these major crashes twice a year where I wouldn't be able to get out of bed for about a month, or sometimes more.
Then I moved back to my hometown because I felt like it might help. I started doing some freelance event work but when COVID hit, I lost all my work.
And at the end of 2020, I had one of my crashes and I just never got better. I was bed/housebound for a year after this.
That year was absolutely horrendous for me.
I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and doctors basically told me that that's the way I was going to be forever. There was no way I was going to get better. This is you.
This is how I would describe it:
Imagine you’ve just been on a 3-night night bender at a festival, then got on a long-haul flight to Australia. You have crazy jetlag and the worst hangover.
That's probably the closest I can explain to how I was feeling every day just lying in bed.
I had extreme fatigue, a 24-hour sore throat, brain fog and excruciating headaches that made me light and noise sensitive, really bad IBS, Heartbeats that felt like my heart was going to burst through my chest, dizziness if I ever stood up, intense anxiety and many more symptoms that came and went.
I was probably leaving the house for five minutes every few days. Maybe 100 steps around the street where I lived.
I was so frustrated that no one really could understand how I was feeling.
So after an 11-month break from social media, I got back on and started connecting with loads of people who had chronic fatigue and pain.
Some of them, including Jen and Karden, were actually talking about healing and that they'd healed. I thought, “Wait, what? I thought you couldn't heal.”
I had a call with Karden and it just clicked. He understood what I’d been going through, how disconnected from myself I was. So in January 2022 after a year of being bed/housebound , I signed up for CFS School.
At first, some of the tools were just not working for me.
And it took a while for them to really start to connect. The more I moved through the course, the more it became my own practice and I could flow with it more, that's when it all started to click.
The way I could see my progress was by my progression with walks. By the end of the 12 weeks, I was walking 40 minutes.
I was feeling amazing but wasn’t fully healed…..YET
I continued to use all the tools in a way that was working for me and also doing loads of different types of breathwork because it made me feel amazing.
By summer of 2022 a few months after finishing the course, I was at a point where I was saying I was healed.
I now work full-time and can go on three-hour walks without any crashes afterwards.
I can't believe where I am now compared to two years ago when I literally couldn't get out of bed.
This is why I’m so passionate about making sure that everyone knows that they can heal.
It takes time and it takes work, but you don't need to stay where you are.